What Makes your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick

control a man remoteDoes your wife or girlfriend tell you what to do most or all of the time? Does she become enraged or sullen and withdrawn if she doesn’t get her way? Does she needle you endlessly until you capitulate? Controlling behaviors and attitudes are just another aspect of emotionally abusive women with Borderline and/or Narcissistic personality traits.

It’s natural to want to have control over your own life. However, most of us realize you can’t control everything, especially other people. You can make requests or try to influence others, but you can’t control them. Psychologist Dr Thomas Schumacher writes, “When you have to be in control of the people around you…when you literally can’t rest until you get your own way . . . you have a personality disorder.”

Here’s the rub: You can’t control others. Not really. When you spend your every waking moment worrying about what others are doing, compulsively trying to control them, you’re the one who ultimately becomes controlled by your desire to control. It’s a paradoxical effect. For those of you who are involved with an emotionally abusive, controlling woman, you probably recognize that maniacal, “out of control” look in her eyes when she’s trying to bend you to her will and you’re trying to resist.

Are control freaks and Narcissistic and/or Borderline women one and the same?

There’s a lot of overlap between the characteristics of “control freaks” and emotionally abusive NPD/BPD women. This isn’t a great leap since many men who are involved with these women describe them as “controlling.” If you think of this woman as a cubic zirconia, “control freak” is just another facet that flashes in the light like “bully,” “professional victim,” “pathological jealousy,” “hypercritical,” etc. Or, put another way, it’s another piece of the fragmented BPD/NPD woman jigsaw puzzle.

Control freaks and abusive, high-conflict women:

  • Have difficulty trusting others.
  • Have a profound fear of having their flaws exposed.
  • Cannot tolerate feeling vulnerable (and, therefore, can’t handle intimacy).
  • Are riddled with anxiety, fear, insecurity and anger.

What’s really going on?

Why does she invest so much in trying to control you and your reality? Because she tries to manage her anxiety by trying to control you. Control is her anxiety management technique of choice. She doesn’t experience anxiety like a relatively healthy person does — an unpleasant sensation that will eventually pass. To this woman, anxiety is a painful reminder that something is wrong with her. To acknowledge this is akin to being lowered into a dark, bottomless pit with no way out. There is a way out, of course; facing her issues and feeling her feelings, but she’s not going to do that!

Facing her fears and working through her issues would mean admitting she actually has issues, which would mean holding herself accountable and not blaming others. It makes much more sense (to her and remember, she’s the only one who matters) to deny and ignore her problems and push and poke at you because you’re the one with the problem, not her.

Her strategy is unconscious for the most part and goes something like this: If you’re both totally focused on and consumed by what a useless, screw-up jerk you are, no one will notice her glaring flaws, especially her. Get it? I feel dizzy from typing that last piece of emotional reasoning, but that’s what goes on in the dark recesses of her brain.

She tries to stave off her deep-seated fear of having her true self exposed by controlling every aspect of her life and her relationship with you, including imposing her distorted version of reality upon you. She views her ability to control you as a matter of survival—her psychological survival, that is. “Being in control gives her the temporary illusion of a sense of calmness. When she feels she is prevailing, you can just about sense the tension oozing out of her” (Schumacher).

Think about it. When does she come close to being in a good mood or smile with pure pleasure? When she feels like she’s in the catbird seat because she’s gotten her way, pulled one over on you or pulled the rug out from underneath you. The size of her smile is in direct proportion to the number of times she twisted the proverbial knife.

More defensive mechanisms: Projection and projective identification.

Projection and projective identification play a part in her controlling behaviors. She maps her feelings onto you and controls you by inducing these feelings within you. Her controlling facade masks her true internal experience. Deep down she feels frightened, out of control, incompetent and helpless.

Les Parrot (The Control Freak) writes:

“People who want to exert control over everything can make those around them feel inadequate, insecure, nervous, angry, anxious and physically sick. Their message is: I don’t trust you to be able to do it right; I don’t respect your judgment; I don’t think you are competent; I don’t value your insight.”

Whether or not this woman is aware of it, this is how she feels about herself. Once you recognize the defense mechanisms at play, it becomes a little easier to take her hurtful behaviors less personally. She’d be like this with anyone.

In order for her to win, you must lose.

Because this is a matter of psychological survival to her, she has to steamroll you in order to avoid feeling helpless. “To relinquish control is tantamount to being victimized and overwhelmed” (Schumacher). Unfortunately, her fears also fuel her lack of empathy toward you and create the mindset: “Victimize or be victimized; dominate or be dominated.”

To the abusive woman, it’s not enough to merely control you. She only feels in control and good about herself if she makes you feel less than. Her mood becomes buoyant as she cuts you down. She has to make you feel useless, disoriented and helpless, so that she doesn’t feel this way.

This is evidence of a faulty belief system. She has a one-up/one-down mentality. She believes that in every interpersonal interaction there’s a winner and a loser and she will fight tooth and nail against being the “loser.” This is why it’s virtually impossible for this woman to compromise or make concessions. To her, compromise and concession are humiliating defeats. She’d rather blow the house up and everything in it than compromise or take personal responsibility. Anyone who’s gone through a high-conflict divorce with a BPD/NPD/Sociopath knows this only too well.

Her need to control, however, will come back to bite her on the backside. Instead of feeling and appearing in control, this woman comes across as out of control when trying to exert control. Oftentimes, those living under her tyranny eventually stage a revolt and/or bolt from the relationship ultimately causing her to lose control.

Losing control

Schumacher cites the rapid phases this kind of woman goes through when she’s not getting her way or feels she’s losing control. For example, when you challenge her or threaten to end the relationship, she probably exhibits the following emotional states in quick succession:

  1. Angry and agitated. (You’re treated to a rage episode and/or nasty commentary, blame and accusations.)
  2. Panicky and apprehensive. (She exposes fleeting vulnerability as she tries to “feel you out” in order to see how and if she can regain control. She may worry that she’s gone too far and is testing the waters before gearing up for another control maneuver.)
  3. Agitated and threatening. (Because anxiety is ego dystonic—i.e., painfully uncomfortable—she quickly reverts to form and begins to bully you and issue ultimatums and threats of punishment.)
  4. Depression and despair. (When all else fails, she becomes sullen and withdrawn and suffers a temporary identity crisis.)

Her unhealthy coping mechanism (control) becomes an unhealthy and rigid pattern. Because it’s impossible to control others, she’s locked in the endless loop of fighting off real and imagined threats to her control. Since she won’t look at her own issues and focuses solely on controlling you and her environment, she never gains mastery over the fears that plague her. Her attempts at mastery (control) over her emotions and fears instead become a replay of misery for herself and others. But remember, she’ll probably never be able to see herself as part of the problem, which means it’s highly unlikely she’ll ever change.

Psychologist, Dr Patricia A. Farrell, states: “They’re highly resistant to any therapy, and there is no medication for the personality disorder.” To seek help themselves, she says, “the control freak has to be convinced the price is too great not to, and that doesn’t happen very often.”

Yes, this woman is deeply troubled, but it is NOT your responsibility to tolerate, accept or change her. The only way to gain mastery over a relationship with this kind of woman is to end it. Otherwise, you’ll begin an endless replay loop of your own misery.

Next week I’ll post ways to manage an emotionally abusive “control freak,” so please check back.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

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  1. goodbyemrswrong
    July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Wow.. just wow…

    I have spent yesterday and today going over all the comments… simply amazing. I had a feeling I wasn’t alone on this one…

    Here’s my life for the last 10 years. Tell me if this sounds familiar….

    * Catering to her insecurities: This is very similar and ties in with the next point, but this is vital. If at the end of a phone call I don’t say “I love you”, she gets upset and it becomes this game of where I’m being a bad guy. If I have established any friendships to a female, heck, even acquaintance status… then the questions about it begin. Every time. If I don’t answer the phone when she calls, I hear something to the effect of “Hey, how come you didn’t answer? I thought something happened to you”. This is usually after 2-3 calls within a half hour span. At one point, I counted 46 calls and text messages in a 8 hour work shift because I didn’t answer the first one (see the Intrusion point).

    * Prompting: At this point, I feel no inspiration or desire to give compliments, give flowers, flirt.. none of it. I am constantly tired (see next point as to why), but yet, she feels its her job to literally tell me exactly what she wants me to say. And I don’t mean at a later point… it’s right at that very moment. I have countered with something I believe in, which is to the effect of showing these kinds of affections when it’s warranted and it comes naturally. Forcing affection is never a winning situation for anyone. It’s not authentic, it’s a disservice to the foundation of a relationship.

    * Intrusion & Disregarding your requests: Simple stuff here really. I want to take a crap in privacy. NOPE. She opens the door, comes in, starts talking to me. Go somewhere else in our place, she will consistently “check” on me to see what I’m doing. “What are you doing?” I respond, then it’s “Oh, you didn’t tell me you were doing that”. See that right there? I have to check in with her. Even to use the bathroom. We shared a cell phone plan and she would constantly monitor my phone calls via the sprint website. I would get asked about XYZ number if she didn’t recognize it. I have since gotten my own phone on a different carrier, under my name. Password locked my phone. Anything I do on my phone, such as texting or checking email is of GREAT interest to her. If the phone makes a noise, she says “gee, aren’t you popular”. My phone is now silent on vibrate constantly.

    * Demands and “owing”: Now this one is hilarious. Let me give you 2 examples of what I’m talking about here. (1) I am walking by and I trip on something and bump into her. I get a very dramatic “OUCH!”, I say “oops, sorry about that”,but she won’t stop grumbling about how much it hurt until I apologize the way she wants. If I don’t apologize, she insists that I owe her an apology. (2) If she gets angry at one of the kids and her tone and treatment is becoming mean, or out and out vindictive, I will step in and defend the kids. And I will never apologize because I am right to do this. My children are 8 years old and younger. They are not equipped to deal with this kind of an attack, nor should they have to deal with that. And when I do “take their side”, man oh man… am I a horrible person and I need to apologize because I “owe” it to her. One last example; (3) there have been times that my work has required me to stay late, or even stay out of town during conventions. It’s made very clear to me that I “owe” her for watching the kids in that time. Nope, sorry to break the news to you, but that’s actually a part of being a parent. When she has gone to work and I was contracting from home, there was never any talk about “owing” me anything. Why? Because I’m their parent. That’s why.

    * Co-dependency: Won’t get a job, stay at home mom. We are beginning to slide into serious debt, I’m now working a full time job and a part time job to slow the financial bleeding. I have begged her to find a job, and she has repeatedly told me that if she can do more on ebay, we can make more money… so I used to say “go for it”. That was her code for “ha ha sucker… that buys me more time to do nothing!”. When I am stressing about money and again, insisting she finds a “real job”, she only looks at minimum wage jobs and declares it won’t cover child care. Yet, she has office experience and a positive work history. In the last 7 months she has claimed to have applied to close to 40 jobs. I can verify that she has had 4 job interviews that she went to and they never went anywhere afterwards, 3 job offers that she turned down, and disregarded 5 job interviews by not responding.

    * Projection: From the end of our first year together, and for the next 7 afterwards, she was having an online affair with her prior boyfriend. I had no idea this was going on until I discovered emails and chat messages when I was looking up a mutual friends email address on her gmail. For all that time up until that point, I was always vaguely accused of cheating, wanting to cheat, or just hiding something from her. She projected her crime onto me. Not giving the kids enough attention? You guessed it! My kids flock to me when I come home and are actively engaged with me for the whole night even though she’s been there all day. Of course, she gloats about the things she did with them that day, but I’ve already heard otherwise from my 7 year old on a few occassions. By the way, when I confronted her about that, she chastised him as a liar and was severely upset that I had a *gasp* negative reaction to my son in tears and clearly distraught and felt the need to confront her about this. You’re damn right I’ll call BS when I see it, and when I call it, I’m being “irrational”, “unfair” and “not getting the full story”.

    * Accountability: Rather, lack thereof. It took 16 years for her to get a drivers license because of an accident she had with her mother over 20 years prior. Right.. process that one for a minute… something that happened as a child, which was not her fault, and she will never have any way to change this event… this is the reason why she wouldn’t get a license to drive. And guess who was doing all the driving for the last 10 years! I pretty much forced her to get a license, and just recently has she begun to drive on her own.

    * Being a martyr: Always quick to point out the sacrifices made on her behalf, pays no mind or gives little to no credit to anything you do to help. If I show frustration on how we have hardly any food for days at a time, she gets offended by this and will point out how she’s saving us money with coupons and free samples sent in the mail. And she *prompts me to acknowledge that shes helping this way. Nevermind that getting a job would actually be the best way to fix that and so much more. I skip meals sometimes so the kids can have food. My shoes are literally falling apart on my feet. My clothes have holes in them, faded, some are too small from when I was skinnier, too big when I was larger at another point in my life. I don’t make a peep about this as “my sacrifice”. I do it because the kids have needs that come first.


    Since discovering her little online fling, I have nearly divorced twice. I get right to the edge, and for some reason or another, back away after I tell her I want out. The reasons are straight forward honestly; I fear for my kids well being and I know she (and her twisted psycho family) can and will fund a legal battle that will certainly not work to my advantage at all. I have no support network of family. I have a few friends within a 100 mile radius.

    I am aware of what’s happening, I am accountable to letting this go on as long as it has and I am determined to end this insanity. There’s so many obstacles in the way to even begin this (it all comes back to $$), I feel helpless.

  2. John
    July 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I am really considering walking out of my marriage my while wants to control who I talk to what movies I watch if i really like a movie i get accused of wanting to have sex with the female actress she wants to control what music I listen to she doesn’t want me listening to music by female singers if I want to buy something I have to buy two of the same thing so she has it too and she won’t contribute any money toward it I am just very fed up with it but one thing I just don’t understand is if she feels a need to control me then why does she allow her son to talk to her any way he wants to and let him get away with pretty much everything and not back me up when I punish him?

    • July 27, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Hi John just wanted to let you know youre not alone

      i walked out on my my girlfriend of 3 years and my 2 year old son 11 weeks ago.

      The reason, she was exactly as you described, movies? anything with a woman in and id get the cold shoulder or she would start an argument with me, anything to take the attention off the TV on to her, it wasnt just movies, it was commercials tv programmes, music.

      She was jealous and insecure about everything, she was basically calling me a pervert on a daily basis.

      If we ever did see a movie and it had some nudity in it then hold on to your hat because she would just explode. Id get constant well you dont need to look at my f***ing tits now youve seen hers, you dont need to see my repulsive body now youve seen hers, this would last all night, so you can imagine how much fun it was watching TV with her.

      One time i wanted to watch James Bond and she hated it because of the bond girls in bikinis, so i thought id go upstairs and watch it, she came up shortly after flew into a monstrous rage calling me all the names under the sun, accusing me of watching things behind my back, snatched the laptop off me and threw it against the wall nice!

      Well after 2 years of this crap id had enough and walked out (for the first time, went back again for seconds and thirds) didnt know but 2 days later she was having sex with one of our work colleagues in a car park. wow what a chick! She was sending naked pictures of herself to him and recieving them from him, this is after the explicit rule that i should look at no ther woman than her – cuckoo cuckoo

      The double standards make me chuckle now, she also added that if id been watching porn while id been away i can just pack my bags and leave, this is after shes had her knickers around her ankles in a car park!!

      I tried everything i could with that girl nothing worked, she slowly started to drain me of what felt like my soul, she was relentless, the only thing that worked for me was not giving into her crap and doing the things i wanted regardless, i was able to push back her insecurities little by little, but it would have taken years for her to come close to acting like a normal human being.

      Now ive left im at the gym i see my son twice a week, ive got back in touch with old firends she wanted me to cut out of my life, and even though i have a bad day once a week or so, on the whole i feel much better, i feel FREE, its amazing!

      anyway sorry for the rant and i hope you make the right decision, these women just suck the life out of you!

    • goodbyemrswrong
      July 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      @John – Leave. That’s my advice. I’ve been on a 10 year journey with this kind of non-sense, and it’s time to face the facts: she doesn’t care about you, how you feel, what you think, what you stand for, what you believe or what you want from her. You’re the scapegoat, you’re the reason for whatever the gripe of the day is, you’re accountable to her crap.

      So call it my friend. Man up, file the papers, and walk if you can afford it. That’s exactly what I’m aiming to do currently, and I have a feeling this is what other guys here on the board have done as well.

    • George
      August 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      My advice is to try a good psychologist who has a background in personality disorders and is willing to make the tough call if warranted. Both of these pieces are crucial and not to be underestimated. If you find out that your wife is one of these NPD/BPD individuals and she isn’t thouroughly committed to doing the really hard work of trying to get this under control, then make an exit plan and get out. This website is filled with stories of men who have suffered under the kind of abuse you describe. Save yourself and get out. Don’t try to suffer through it. Get out and get out as soon as you can.

  3. June 4, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    This is the main reason I am divorcing my wife: she has to control everything and me. She drives me nuts! I am no pushover but she is relentless and we had bad arguments all the time. Now that I wanted the divorce she is extremely upset no one to babysit anymore.

  4. SNM
    May 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Hey sorry s.o.b. you are not alone. We are all here. Forget about the destroyed days and regrets.

    You should seriously consider why you think you cannot leave. If you really have to stay, you need to change the rules.

  5. sorry s.o.b.
    May 16, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Everything i do is wrong. I am apparently too stupid to do.anything without her oversight. If she could blame me for the death of christ i believe she would. Everything i do or say is criticized scrutinized and picked apart. I.am always told i am incapable of even wiping my ass. Regrets? Yeah i have a few. Your description spot on. I simply refuse to allow myself to be a hostage to her rage and proclamations that i have ruined our lives. I feel so damn alone. For many reasons i cannot leave so i just have to go click to turn it off and shut out her nastiness and rages over everything. And yes i am apparently to blame no matter what. I have had so many days of my life destroyed. Regrets yeah i have a ton.

  6. jp
    May 8, 2012 at 3:11 am

    InLimbo :

    . Its not bad all the time providing we arent watching TV and there are no other females around.

    So where’s the problem? Just stay in the house, never have company over, and keep the TV turned off for the rest of your life.

  7. InLimbo
    May 7, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Hi id like some advise, and somebody else’s perspective.

    I have been with my girlfriend fro 3 years we met at work, and all seemed fine at the start.

    I did notice her insecurities but decided to ignore it, and thought if i reassure her enough they would disappear. How wrong was i? The reassurance she needs is beyond anything ive ever known, she doesnt trust me at all even though ive never given her any reason not to.

    If i talk to another woman then she thinks im attracted to her, if i have to deal with a supplier at work who happens to be female im flirting with her. When we go out together its quite possibly the least enjoyable experience ive had. I have to watch what i say, i have to watch where i look and god forbid an attractive female should be in the vicinity because then i usually get scolded or cold shouldered.

    The worst thing is television, im expected to look away from the television if any attractive women come on including commercials. Im not allowed to watch movies with attractive females in them, im not talking nudity just attractive women. I constantly feel like im doing things that hurt her.

    Well i got to the point where i was starting to explode uncontrollably, was experiencing pains in my head, constant sickness.

    To give an example she was watching something i didnt want to, so i went upstairs with my laptop and starting watching a james bond movie, well she came up shortly after to “check up” on what i was doing, when she discovered i was watching a james bond movie she hit the roof,screaming and accusing me of watching things behind her back, she snatched my laptop from me and threw it against the wall.

    Any way i finally had enough i couldnt take it anymore i thought i was going to crack up so i left. Within 2 days she was bent over in a carpark with a member of staff where we both work. She continued sleeping with him and all the time texting me constantly how much she loves me etc and im the only man for her, i didnt know she was leeping with him she kept that from me.

    Anyway i eventually went back after a month she convinced me that she was a changed woman and that the break from me made her realise what was important. A few months in and everythings gone back to the way it was.

    Ive decided not to give into her anymore and started watching the films i want not looking away from tv, talking to females at work. Things seemed to have improved.

    Even though there has been some improvement, i still dont enjoy doing the things i used to. She wants to come and watch football with me etc, but i find that when we are out im always watching what i say what i look at etc

    Dont get me wrong she is a fantastic mother, she does all the cleaning and washing shopping etc, she lets me play on the xbox as much as i want (though i think this is because she doesnt have to face atractive females on tv), i can watch as much sports as i want (again for the same reason).

    Does she sound like she has some kind of personality disorder.

    Thanks in advance

    • shrink4men
      May 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Hi In Limbo,

      Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if he has a personality disorder or not. She sounds extremely abusive, violent and unfaithful. By the way, good mothers don’t abuse grown-ups or children. And if she treats you the way you describe, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if her kids get their fair share of abuse, too.

      Why are you tolerating such behavior and why are you with someone who treats you so badly?

      Dr T

      • InLimbo
        May 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

        Thanks for the quick reply, i suppose she does lots of other things to make up for jealousy issues. Its not bad all the time providing we arent watching TV and there are no other females around.

        I dont know why im still here, i know im not happy, we have a 2 yr old son together. Ive read lots on this forum and hadnt com across anything that relates to my problem, thats what made me doubt she has a personality disorder and perhaps she will see the light and change.

        She doesnt see it as cheating as i left her, which i suppose is technically true.

  8. Lost
    April 12, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Just came across this blog, And i cant believe how much is true about all that is said.
    Been in a relationship for just over 3 years. And i love my partner more that you could ever imagine. But i’m sick of all the negativitiy in our relationship, how things have to be done her way, how she wont sit down and budget our expenditure together and then say i dont support her even though i’m paying for everything except food. (which i do contribute one grocery shop a week), Saying i dont help out with our kids in bathing them etc because she does all of that before i get home. Saying i never clean up the house even though i do but because she does it while im at work i’m lazy. How she makes me feel so bad about working overtime or doing interstate trips for work because she is left alone with all the kids.
    Its gotten that bad now with everything that she refuses to get on with my family and friends as they all have an opinion of her because i apparently badmouth them. As a result of this i dont want to talk to them anymore just to keep the peace.

    I love her, and thats the issue. We have tried counselling which was great for the one session we did. Made me understand a little why she does it, but then got turned back on me. Its like its one step forward, ten steps back.
    I dont know what to do anymore. My friends have said get out coz they know i have changed, and she knows that they have told me this, building a bigger wall between her and my friends. I love my kids and honestly dont want to miss a day of their lives.
    My issue is trying to get her to go and see help. she has been through a lot and its obvious that it will benefit her greatly, but i know whats going to happen when i mention it.. She will put it on me saying i am the cause of this.. Its like a visoius cycle!

  9. steven
    February 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    i am close to divorce, wife kicked me out of the house before xmas…have been in a confused relationship with her for 6 years now….and finally i come across this blog…

    you must have wrote this knowing the ins and outs of my wife, it is her completely!!

    i am shocked!

    but thanks

  10. Clark
    December 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Dr. T

    This blog so describes my ex, that it brings a huge smile just thinking about being done with that relationship of 25 years. I think perhaps they have a tendency to latch onto easy going guys because they see them as a pushover. I only learned of her three affairs after I moved out, after being wrongly accused of infidelity for years.

    I share custody with our two children, a boy age 13, and girl age 11. My daughter shows the same control freak behavior and it is mostly directed at her older brother in the form of constant bickering, hitting, meddling, and control. She frequently lies when confronted by me and is very manipulative with crocodile tears and hurt feelings. My new wife and I have decided the time is now to deal with the demon amongst us and are wrestling with the best way to proceed. She can be a very sweet girl and in fact is loved at school by friends and teachers and is a straight A student. This is a strong trait of her mother’s as well-the ability to hide the condition from all but those that are closest. My biggest fear is that her sweetness is a complete facade and that no soul exists underneath. I hope that is not the case.

    Do you think there is more hope for behavior modification of a young child than what you suggest is possible with an adult? We are adopting a zero tolerance policy and are seeking out professional counseling. This is taking a toll on all of us, but on her brother in particular who is easy going like me and unwilling to hit back. Any feedback would be welcome.

  11. Mark
    November 9, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Please help me I think my ex was trying to control me I feel i have no self asteem now no confidence I feel no one will have me is it me ?  We’ve always had a bumpy relationship seven years of it, I get a lot of female attention at work in a band which to me is nothin just my job but she would always check my phone or my facebook I used to have female friends (who ive known for over ten years) but she seen to it I didn’t as when I wanted to catch 
    up with them for coffee she would go cold on me n say why u need to meet them men n woman shouldn’t do that. Yet she has a male friend she keeps in touch with who used to go out with her best friend and he s always saying r u out  tonight I’ll see u down there to which she say yeah cool. That’s the same or worse to me coz theres alcohol involved but no she doesn’t see it like that it’s not arranging anything it’s I’ll see u if I see u. I had a friend who tried to kill herself so I went to her house to stop her I didnt tell my ex coz she was texting a guy from work behind my back about him trying to kill himself and I went mental so I thought this would make me look like a hypocrit. I knew she read my Facebook chat so didn’t feel the need to justify myself by an explinantion she always going through my phone etc she turned to me and said she doesn’t think she loves me or want to be with me anymore she has built up a resentment towards me coz of it and needed space n time to decide weather or not she can move past it. I did over her lies so why can’t she ? Two wrong don’t make a right. I always try to compromise she never does plays with her hair and is so negative towards me basically if I’m doing all she wants and don’t question. Her she is great the minute I do I get ignored and the cold shoulder for days. We only have sex on a Thursday n she doesn’t kiss me at all because I have stubble but when I shave she only briefly kisses me then moves her head away. Our daughter is 3 and sleeps in our bed all the time she says its coz im away but even when im there i have to put her to bed while she lays on the bed n watches soaps or if im not there my daughter will lay on the bed with her watch soaps then turn off the light n go to sleep.  My family r very huffy people n have not spoke to me in 5 yrs I have eventually got them to see my daughter twice a month just to see her nothin else but my ex says they don’t deserve any more chances they’ve had enough I asked her to understand its my family n I have to try all she says is im protecting our daughter and my family would never do that n that’s it. I finished it and made the decision myself to move away from then she says I understand n didn’t want any of this I sit n cry myself at times it’s not easy for me either. Then the minute I say I love u it’s ok just let go as I did we have a daughter it’s not hard, I get thing is mark I need time to decide weather I can forgive and move on too, then from then it’s one word text only to do with my daughter. I left I miss her terribly should I stay away I always give n change but feel she never does I can’t bare the thought of another man in the house with her and my daughter what should I do ? please help me on this 

  12. Joe
    September 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    “She’d rather blow the house up and everything in it than compromise or take personal responsibility.”

    In my case, when her 15 year old son at the time threatened me because I wouldn”t allow him to have a girl over while “I” stay in my room, according to what he wanted (She was at her mother’s at the time), I told her about it…she refused to even speak with him. Because I refused this, she actually sold th house because both our names were on it and she couldn’t maintain that control over me…scary…

  13. September 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Thank God for this blog! I have been married for 15 years and 100% understand and experienced all the issues/symptoms described above. I had been trying for years to understand my wife. I had even accepted that this is what marriage is about. It’s like walking on egg shell…one wrong move, I am emotionally screwed. Usually I will just withdraw myself because I tried arguing but it got 10x worse with careless words coming out from her mouth.

    I am good looking, very successful in my business but could have been much more if not for the emotionally drained weeks when I wasted lots of time consoling myself. However, I am also badly in debt….and guess what, she quit her job 7 years ago to stay home taking care of our kids.

    I appreciated her being home but the thing is, she is angry all the time. Very unpredictable…an angel one minute, the devil the other. And I always got blamed. We are fighting right now…because she’s obsessed with used socks being put anywhere but the dirty clothe basket. Yesterday, I took off my socks temporarily to wash my feet, and planning to put them on again because I was going for a meeting. But the devil came out, she jumped at yelled, and I told her nicely that it’s only for a while….in fact I told her 10 minutes before that I was going out…but she forgot, and scolded me, “what meeting??” I lost it and raised my voice, that I just told her abt the meeting. Then she said the killer words, “I’m not your secretary, to remember your every plan.” That b****y hurts and I immediately shut down, as usual..

    On driving, yes I got criticized all the time….too fast, too slow, why you take this way, why you didn’t turn, every freaking thing….

    She loves spending money and thinks that she’s money magnet….and will be extremely successful one day, though I don’t see how….it’s like she’s competing with me…..when I receive good news like new business, contacts etc, soon it will turn into a fight, like the socks incidence (I got 3 contracts just hours before)….

    She always blame me for anything, eg when our son misbehave, she will say “your son…” But she cannot accept similar blame, criticism etc without overblown reactions…

    Wear the same shirt frequently, some sarcastic remarks will come from her….now I feel like I need to get her approval before choosing which shirt to wear….and yes, I have chosen not to touch the remote anymore because she will find sth to criticize….

    I am also labeled too sensitive, judgemental, stingy, selfish, but she’s NEVER at fault….she also called my greedy for my drive to expand my business….wth.

    Vacation – she can just decide to go somewhere even though we have been somewhere 3-5 mths ago….and it has to be some classy place, otherwise she will sulk…

    I think of divorce and/or suicide about 3x a day….and recently I have been thinking of smashing her head or pray that she die in car accidents….. surely these are not good. I thought it was because of my weaknesses, as I am usually a nice guy, very helpful and sincere….but now I know I have been taken for a ride….it’s liberating to know that it’s not my problem but hers.

    I am a sucker for love and will quickly forget these pains when we make up….only to hurt even more the next time. I will now use the detachment strategy to protect my feeling….failing which, I will just pack by bags and leave the devil alone…

    • shrink4men
      September 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Hi abused,

      Please consider ending the relationship. Fantasizing about committing violence — whether to yourself or to her — is a sign that you need to get out. If you can’t commit to divorce, at least consider a trial separation. A healthy relationship doesn’t make you want to suicide or commit murder. An abusive relationship, however, can cause these thoughts to arise. Please take care of yourself.

      Dr T

    • danno
      September 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      Hello, abused:

      Reading your post reminds me of the dismal situation I was in until I separated from my wife and filed for divorce about a year ago. I feel so much better now. I’m the real me again, not that beaten-down, henpecked, depressed guy that she had turned me into. Please get out before something really bad happens. A new day will dawn, and you will be happy to be alive again.

  14. jp
    June 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Mark:We have two kids and I’m not going to just bail.

    Leaving your wife doesn’t mean you have to ‘bail’ on your kids. I have two kids too, and I see them almost every other day. I coach one’s baseball team, I take them to lessons, I chaperone field trips, volunteer in their classes, meet with their teachers, help them with homework, host their playdates, talk them through their issues, etc., etc., etc.

    If I’d stayed with my ex I would have been MORE on the margins of the kids’ lives because every time I’d try to interact with them I’d have to endure her criticisms, ‘corrections’, eye-rolling, sighs of disgust, etc., all of which discouraged my participation. And of course I would then get criticized for not participating enough or with adequate enthusiasm.

    And a few years after splitting I think the kids are closer to me than to their mother. Why? Because when they’re with me they get to be themselves, relax, take risks, express their feelings and fears, etc., all without being afraid of setting of the kind of hair-trigger anger responses and ‘corrections’ they get from mom.

  15. Mark
    June 11, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Yikes. This sounds like my wife to a T. She has to have her way on everything, she is painfully insecure, she projects her feelings onto me, and she even once said, “Compromise is evil. I will never compromise on anything, ever. Compromise is defeat, and I’m not going to waste my life being defeated.” So, good luck to me for trying to deal with that. However, your advice to just end it is not an option. We have two kids and I’m not going to just bail. So I guess I’m stuck. Fortunately, she’s often in a good mood, when there is no conflict. When there is, she gets very upset. I haven’t chosen a song on the car radio, picked a restaurant to eat at, or basically had my way on anything for years.

  16. scaredwife
    June 3, 2011 at 4:17 am

    Reading this blog has really scared me but has also has confused me.. I’m not looking to get verbally abused on here by anyone I’m just looking for some honest advice. My husband tells me I’m controlling and I can see where he is coming from. I am a very jealous person but it has stemmed from him lying to me in the past which he says he does cause he’s scared of me. We also have a long distance relationship he travels for work and we go months at a time without seeing eachother.

    So overcoming jealousy is difficult for me I am at home with our daughter and he is away working with his crew all over the country. Most of his crew are alcoholics and are divored due to infedilities on both parts. Is it wrong for me to not want him going out to bars with his coworkers while he is away all the time?? Is wrong that I expect to talk to him a couple times a day? Is wrong I don’t want him calling me wasted? I agreed that he could buy a case a beer a week and yet somehow I am still controlling and his cooworkers tease him. I also get upset when I see he has taken out money cause I immediately think he’s using it to party. We have been arguing a lot about these issues and I googled controlling wife and now I’m even more worried. I do always think I’m right and rarely say sorry. But I barely leave the house and I don’t drink.

    Also I never put him down the way you mention in your blog. I express to him how proud I am of how hard he works (sometimes 75hr/wk). I am 100 percent attracted to my husband and we have intimate phone convos lol.

    Anyway I guess I just wanted some advice I do see how I am controlling because I am scared of losing my husband.I would just like a solution I guess….any help would be appreciated.

    • Mellaril
      June 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      I’m not the pro here but I recommend you take a look at “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love” -Amir Levine (Author, (Author), Rachel Heller (Author)

      I’m partial to Attachment Theory. If you read the book, you’ll find a lot of the same material that you find on this site. Your concerns about issues like drinking and infidelity are legitimate. How you express them and deal with them may be what’s causing the problem. My guess is that you’ll find things in there that you can relate to. Once you identify those, you can start looking at what’s causing them and ways to deal with it. If there are longstanding and deep seated things in your past, you may have to get some professional help with those. In ths short haul, the book may give you some ideas of how to ease your anxiety with less overt control.

      Everybody has an attachment style but not everybody has a PD driving it.

  17. Free at Last
    April 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Hey Freedom, welcome to the “Free at Last” club! Life is so much more peaceful and pleasant now, isn’t it?

    It never ceases to amaze me how much these nutcase women have in common. Like yours, my ex was an aggressive driver and criticized me for my polite driving style. My approach to anything is that what matters most is getting the job done properly, and she would always criticize the way I did the housework (because it wasn’t her way, regardless of the fact that the job was done and done properly).

    Reading other posts here, these women seem to get irritated by everything. Like I’ve read in several other posts, my ex-girlfriend kept a fan in the bedroom and had to turn it on every night before going to bed so as not to be bothered by nighttime noises.

    “She doesn’t see her behaviour as a problem, but my failure to do everything her way as one.” – Freedom, that’s just so precious! I remember one day when she went out for a couple of hours and expected me to (a) fix the crashed hard drive on her laptop and (b) vacuum the whole house. Well, her laptop repair (which would have cost about $500 at a computer store) took me about three hours, and she was absolutely incensed that I had not yet vacuumed when she returned. I got some sort of crap about doing what I wanted to do versus doing what “needed” to be done (from her perspective, of course). The fact that she needed her laptop to run her business was obviously quite irrelevant.

    Like you, I’m very happy that we didn’t get married and have kids. My very best wishes to you for a lifetime of peace and happiness.

    • Freedom
      April 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm

      You know what’s probably going to be more freaky? Both of us were born in a country at the +8GMT time zone and were brought up within “typical” Asian families. Shows you that stuff like this is cross-cultural.

      Reading through some of the articles here, I realise she was pretty narcissistic as well. She would ask me to take photos of her on my cell phone and she would repeatedly scold and criticise my lack of skill, my lack of ability to make her look better, and my poor choice of angles.

      She would blow her top off if one of her friends uploaded a group photo with her in it that doesn’t make her look as pretty as she believes she is (she’s just average, imo) or that doesn’t make her look as the prettiest girl in the group. She would also constantly comes home from office to tell me how she’s the prettiest girl in the company or the most stylish. How all other people lack fashion sense.

      Should have been a warning sign for me when she removed my fb comment for posting under a picture of some food asking “When are we going to visit this restaurant again?” because it would make her look bad if she said she was too busy to go and saying something like some time soon might make people think she wasn’t doing her job!

  18. Freedom
    April 20, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Finally split from my gf. I always knew something was wrong, but wanted to salvage it.

    Couldn’t take her behaviour anymore.

    My driving was not aggressive enough and making her late even when I was ready more than 1 hour ago waiting for her to get ready and she couldn’t/wouldn’t start preparing on time, my driving sucked although she’s the one that scratched the car twice in 6 months when parking, my taste in clothes sucked, my taste in music sucked, I didn’t do the housework properly (not that she contributed to any!), constant changing of plans at the last minute causing me to waste money missing flights home to my family because of all sorts of reasons when she was the one who had suggested the travel dates earlier, demanding I do her bidding NOW even when it’s not urgent, making me wait for her all the time but throwing a tantrum when I gave her a taste of her own medicine (just being 5 minutes late), how I didn’t understand women and how other men take much better care of their gfs, if I respond to criticism I’m being argumentative and defensive, if I keep quiet and just did it her way it was because I’m a wall who can’t say anything (I have to verbally admit her method is the right one to follow), and making me miss my weekly sports game with my friends by constantly making up issues on the day itself.

    Hate the lost of self-confidence and not daring to voice out my opinion anymore. It started just around her and then propagated to almost everything I did.

    I tried asking for a compromise in trying to do other stuff instead of those that only she liked and she said there shouldn’t be a compromise in a relationship. You do things for those you love (meaning I do things for her). She doesn’t see her behaviour as a problem, but my failure to do everything her way as one.

    Feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders now. Glad we didn’t get married and have kids.

  19. Free at Last
    April 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Eugene, she’ll never see that she’s the problem. If she has to criticize your driving style to make herself feel OK, she’ll criticize everything else that you do. You sound like you’re at the very end of your rope — don’t even think of the unthinkable deed (suicide). That would only be the ultimate victory for your spouse, and she would happily inherit all your assets. There are a few valuable articles on this site about how to prepare for a divorce. Just keep reading and stay strong. You’ve been screwed just like a lot of us here have been screwed, by a very sick person. She has to win, and you have to lose. Start taking those first steps to get yourself out of this hopeless situation, your daughter needs a sane father she can rely on, and good luck to you!

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